Trump lashes out at Puerto Rico as House weighs aid package


Significant relief efforts remain underway in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, totaling over $1.4 billion this year in disaster recovery money, plus another $1.2 billion this year after Hurricane Matthew last year.

Cruz's comments were likely in response to early morning tweets Thursday from the president, where he said Congress needs to act quickly to provide relief because "FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been unbelievable (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the island last week to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the island's recovery.

Much of the island remains without electricity or running water three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

When NPR's Tom Gjelten asked about Trump's latest tweets, a spokesman said the governor has spoken with the White House asking for "clarification".

The Environmental Protection Agency, in an email Thursday (Oct 12) to reporters about its relief efforts, notes that it has received reports of people trying to drink potentially unsafe Superfund water, from wells that were sealed to avoid human exposure to toxins: "There are reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste "Superfund" sites in Puerto Rico".

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, says President Donald Trump's criticism of her hurricane-ravaged country is "unbecoming" of a commander in chief.

In response, Cruz wrote, "The goal is one: saving lives".

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"I don't have a great answer for you on the timing", Short said.

"Mr. President, fulfill your moral imperative towards the people of Puerto Rico".

Cuomo continued to press Perry and questioned how he could call the efforts a "success story" when "there are people starving" in Puerto Rico, to which Perry replied that they're "not starving".

Puerto Rico lost population and jobs after Congress eliminated special tax breaks in 2006, making it more hard to repay its debts. Of that, $4.9 billion is earmarked for loans to local governments to ensure Puerto Rico can keep government programs operating beyond October 31. Devastation from hurricanes Irma and Maria was exacerbated by dilapidated infrastructure, including a power grid largely destroyed by the storms.

60 percent of wastewater treatment plants are working on generator power.

Vox reported that conflicting numbers from the US government and the Puerto Rican government have made it hard to estimate exactly how many people died - a figure that could go well into the hundreds.

The words were taken by some as a hint at abandoning Puerto Rico.

Democrats said Trump's tweets were deplorable, given that the 3 million-plus USA citizens on Puerto Rico are confronting the kind of hardships that would draw howls of outrage if they affected a state. He added, "We've saved a lot of lives".